The inability to sleep well can be extremely detrimental to your productivity and overall health, which makes it important to figure out why you can't sleep at night. At the same time, there are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to fall asleep at night, such as work stress or environmental factors, some common reasons why people don't get the proper amount of sleep they need to include poor sleep hygiene and insomnia.
Sleep hygiene, insomnia, and sleeping difficulty can all take their toll on your energy levels and mood, which can make it difficult to get the rest you need at night.
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, the best way to ensure that you're getting the rest you need is by using these tips for sleeping better tonight.
Difference between being sleepy and fatigued?
The difference between being tired, sleepy, and fatigued is blurry. The three terms are often used interchangeably. However, while they may seem similar, there are differences between them.
Sleep is important for well-being as it helps boost immunity, rejuvenate muscles, and repair cells, among other health benefits.
Fatigue can be relieved by getting adequate sleep regularly. Fatigue is similar to feeling lazy while being sleep deprived is more like feeling exhausted even after sleeping for 10 hours.
Sleep is deep and refreshing. When you sleep deeply and well, your body needs less sleep than when you don't get enough quality sleep. The result is that being tired can make it harder to fall asleep (and stay asleep) at night.
Sleep hygiene is very important
Sleeping problems could be due to certain diseases that need medical attention, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Sleep hygiene includes habits and behaviors that promote good sleep. These include not using electronic devices before bedtime, not drinking alcohol before bedtime, avoiding heavy meals late at night, etc. Sleep hygiene has improved sleep quality in most people who practice it regularly.
Also check: Daytime strategies to help you sleep better
Possible reasons: You are tired but still can't sleep.
It may be a sign that your circadian rhythm is off. One of your circadian rhythm sleep disorders may be to blame for your lack of sleep. Circadian rhythm is when physical processes occur throughout our bodies on a predictable cycle over 24 hours.
It controls our sleep and wakefulness patterns and hormone release and other bodily functions. The issue with getting a good night's sleep has more to do with disrupting your circadian rhythm than anything else.
You may benefit from: Yoga mudras for better sleep
Some issues that disrupt one's circadian rhythm can cause severe insomnia—not being able to fall asleep when you want to (called sleep onset insomnia) or not being able to stay asleep throughout the night (called sleep maintenance insomnia).
Here are some common culprits that can throw off your sleep schedule:
- Exposure to bright light can have a huge impact on how we sleep. Researchers have found that exposure to bright light in the morning can help reset our circadian rhythms and improve mood; that's why many people use an alarm clock that wakes them up with light instead of sound.
- Consuming caffeine or alcohol in excess can also disrupt your circadian rhythm. Both substances are known to be stimulants, and drinking them close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep—and sleep through the night—because they interfere with our body's natural ability to slow down and fall asleep.
- Racing thoughts in your mind can be another reason. You try to go to sleep, but no matter how tired you are, your mind just won’t shut off, and you end up lying awake in bed with your thoughts racing at 100 miles per hour. Insufficient sleep and racing thoughts are powerful disruptors of a good night’s rest. Check these five ways to shut off your mind when you cannot sleep at night.
- In addition to bright light and caffeine consumption, other factors can affect your circadian rhythm:
- Eating late at night (or too close to bedtime)
- Exercising too close to bedtime (because exercise is a stimulant)
- Take prescription medications that make you drowsy or affect your sleep in other ways
These issues may require professional help for treatment and management; you should consult with a sleep specialist if you feel like your tiredness is related to an underlying health condition or disorder.
Ways to fall asleep and feel refreshed.
If you experience consistent sleeping difficulty every night, it might be time to look into sleep hygiene. Think of it as your digital detox.
1. Take steps to improve your sleep hygiene.
2. Identify what might be causing your sleeping difficulty—from medications to poor diet—and learn how you can mitigate these factors with lifestyle changes.
3. Remember that it can take a while for a behavior change to become an automatic habit.
Ways to improve your sleep hygiene and get a better night’s rest
- Go to bed and wake up at consistent times every day.
- Exercise regularly, especially during daylight hours (but not too close to bedtime).
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool (between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Don't take naps longer than 30 minutes; they can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex—not as a workstation or TV watching area.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night, don't turn on the lights or look at your phone—just go back to sleep.
- Avoid napping after 3 p.m.; it can interfere with nighttime sleep quality and quantity (and make it harder to fall asleep at night).
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation before bedtime. Try bedtime stretches & breathing for sound sleep.
Watch Out Your Nutrition
Dietary habits that can deprive you of sleep:
- Don't eat heavy meals right before bed; a light snack is fine if it helps sleep better.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening; they can interfere with sleep quality and quantity.
- While spicy foods are delicious, eating spicy foods too close to bedtime can cause heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Heartburn can be made worse while lying down as it allows the acids to rise up into the esophagus and burns the sensitive lining.
- Foods high in protein can also disrupt sleep when eaten too close to bedtime.
Sleeping well is crucial to our physical and mental health. But when we don't sleep well or enough, we can feel depressed and angry, gain weight around our middle, lose focus and attention span—even suffer heart attacks and other serious problems. If you are suffering from insomnia or sleeping difficulty symptoms such as nightmares or daytime fatigue, it may be time to look at your sleeping habits.